In our Bible Study, for the next several months, we are studying selected passages from the Gospel of Luke. Luke acts as historian in his account of the life of Jesus, and desires to put everything in the correct order and accounting. In our study we’ve only just covered the early years of Jesus birth, and the few verses describing His childhood and young adult life before His ministry. Even in these less than detailed descriptions Luke says, “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” -Luke 2:52
This image is not of a madman, or a raving lunatic spreading myths and fantasies, or heresy. The winsome nature of Jesus, His engaging smile, His attractive appearance, His appealing character, caused people in every village and town to come running to discover more about this Man. In Luke 18 Jesus is teaching and people were bringing their babies to Him so He would touch them, and the disciples acting like sentries tried to stop the people. It wasn’t because the babies were crying, or that the young children didn’t want to be there because they were scared of Him. The disciples just thought Jesus too important to be disturbed in this way. Yet Jesus tells them, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” – Luke 18:15-17
No man, or woman, before or since, could appeal to the masses like Jesus. It was His winsome nature that won them over. And it causes me to pause and reflect on the words of the apostle Paul once again, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…” – Philippians 2:5. Could it be that in this one phrase Paul has captured the very essence of the winsome nature of Jesus? And could it not be said that what we should do, in fact must do if we truly want to reflect the light of love found only in Christ, that we must adopt this “Win Some” attitude found in Philippians 2?
Even a quick look around in many Christian circles today, it’s often all too easy to see judgmental, hypocritical, shallow attitudes of faith, poorly expressed, and dramatically ineffectual for changing our world. These believers are not seen as “winsome”, like the Master they say they serve. To the lost folk around them, these Christians are viewed more as a roach might view a can of “RAID,” and those lost folks run away in the opposite direction. The lost are not attracted to this kind of faith, they are repelled by it. Which might lend some understanding as to why Paul wrote to the church in Corinth,(who by the way, probably looked much like the description above), when he said, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.” – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Paul did his best wherever he went to have the attitude of Jesus, and be winsome with those he met, in order to win some to Christ in salvation. Too many folks today, who I know are true believers in Jesus, just don’t communicate their faith well to those outside their circles. They’re brash, and proud, and their condemning spirits precede them, and the world turns to run and hide. This looks nothing like the winsome nature of Christ who said, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them…”
Only when we become childlike in our faith, trusting God’s Holy Spirit to lead us, trusting in Jesus’ power to save us, and allowing God’s miracle-working grace to transform us… will we truly become winsome in our nature and character, and begin to win some.